Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Program overview

“We live in an exciting time. There is a new old age waiting to be discovered, ready to be explored. Aging and the aged are not, as so often supposed, the cause of our problems – they are and always have been the source of the answers we need. Our longevity is ready to be freed from the shackles of prejudice and fear. It can and it will save our world.” William H. Thomas, M.D.
What Are Old People? How Elders Will Save the World

Our pioneering PCC Gerontology program reimagines aging and seeks to provoke culture change. Grounded in the science of aging, we assist you in designing and developing new career opportunities and in creating new undertakings using promising, evidence-based research.  Our program is value-driven.

What we value

  • Teaching about aging
  • Promoting optimal aging for everyone
  • Supporting encore learners, and thereby benefiting all learners
  • Creating culture change agents and advocates for older persons
  • Igniting the entrepreneurial spirit in students to forge new paths in the exciting frontiers of longevity
  • Encouraging creative innovation
  • Remaining at the leading edge of this emerging field
  • Affirming PCC’s commitments as age-inclusive and benefiting all ages


End Ageism

Mike Faber’s videos

Jenny Sasser’s video

Degrees and certificates offered

You can earn:

  • Short-term Career Pathway certificate
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree

The degree and certificate are designed as career pathways. Credits earned count toward a certificate and the degree. The degree and certificate are vetted by innovative, industry-based Advisory Teams to ensure that your academic plan enhances your employability in your chosen career path.

Program prerequisites and requirements

  • Candidates for certificates should be ready to enter WR 121 and MTH 20.
  • Candidates for the AAS Degree should be ready to enter WR 121 and MTH 58 or MTH 65 (demonstrated through placement tests or documented previous college-level work).

Course of study

You may earn Gerontology credentials alone or in conjunction with a certificate or degree in other PCC programs such as:

  • Addiction Counseling
  • Allied health fields
  • Business
  • Exercise Science
  • Family and Human Services
  • Interior Design
  • Management and Supervisory Development
  • Nursing
  • Paralegal

The AAS degree and certificate can be earned entirely online, although many program electives, basic competency, and computer skills courses are offered each term in online, classroom or hybrid formats.

You will want to meet with a program advisor who can help you plan course options to fit your career goals, and follow up each term to make sure you are on track and to make adjustments.

Multidisciplinary options

We collaborate with other PCC programs to offer certificates combining their discipline and aging:

In addition, you can earn co-degrees and/or co-certificates in Gerontology and Exercise Science. Outside of PCC, we have transfer agreements with other colleges with bachelor degrees or concentrations in Gerontology and other fields.

Outside resources

Student services available at a distance